GoPro’s CEO believes a simple video editing app holds the key to the company’s future

by admin July 27, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Nick Woodman thinks QuikStories represents the path forward for GoPro. The company’s founder/CEO doesn’t hold back. “You can say this is the biggest thing we’ve done to simplify the experience of sharing video since the invention of the GoPro itself,” he says matter of factly.

Woodman has always been GoPro’s biggest cheerleader, from its founding in 2004, to the major financial struggles over the past several years that have led many analysts to declare the hardware maker dead in the water. Investors haven’t always agreed with the decisions made under his leadership, but his unbridled enthusiasm has never been in question — and the new app is no exception.

Unfortunately, however, it’s not that great. On the face of it, QuikStories is Instagram Stories or Apple Clips for the action camera. It’s the shortest path from a GoPro camera to social media. The app automatically edits clips and photos into a short video, complete with music and transitions. It is, Woodman believes, the missing link standing between the company’s cameras and meaningful mainstream adoption.

“Our customers [had] a bottleneck to actually transforming clips into an exciting video that they could enjoy themselves and share with others,” Woodman tells TechCrunch. “QuikStories is the uncorking of that bottleneck and the opening of the floodgates and making it easier for customers to easily take advantage of the GoPro in the form of a story that’s easily generated on their phone.”

Uncorking the bottleneck

QuikStories is the product of a refocused company. Four years ago, GoPro reshuffled things, and began rebuilding its software team from the ground up, convinced that it was the way forward for a company that appeared to be painting itself into a corner. Early last year, it bought a pair of video editing companies — Stupeflix and Vemory — for a combined $105 million. Stupeflix’s iOS app, Replay, served as the foundation for this new offering.

The change of approach was necessary, Woodman explains, because GoPro’s strategy has traditionally been so focused on hardware. Five generations of the company’s flagship Hero line have resulted in a piece of push-button hardware that’s easy to use out of the box. But while GoPros have become ubiquitous among video professionals looking to capture something from an unconventional point of view, smartphones and social media have set the standard for video simplicity among consumers.

“What happens to a business that has been successful in selling a solution that has been incomplete for the consumer?” Woodman asks rhetorically. “What happens when that business fixes that problem and now has a solution that’s very easy for the consumer to be successful with? We believe that can have a dramatic impact on our company because it’s going to have a dramatic impact on consumers.“

As he speaks, it feels as if Woodman is betting a big piece of his company’s future on this simple video editing app — and honestly, that’s not all that far from the truth. QuikStories’ success or failure won’t be what makes or breaks GoPro at the end of the day, but the app — coupled with the smartphone connectivity the company has rolled out in recent years — is a key pillar of its strategy moving forward.

It’s a hell of a lot to hang on a single app — particularly one that, as of writing this piece, doesn’t feel fully baked.

Software is hard, too